About the Lab Requirements
The Institute's curriculum places a great amount of emphasis on hands-on, applied learning. In that spirit, many of our core courses carry a lab requirement. Students may complete much labwork on their own using their Institute-approved workstations and software, but our campus lab is open and staffed regularly for students who wish to complete their labwork collaboratively or with the support of a qualified lab assistant.
Labs allow students to apply their lecture-based skills in a less-prescribed environment than lecture proper, with the support of their peers and the course’s lab assistant. During each lecture section, the lead instructor will set a battery of short exercises for lab. During lab time, students are expected to work independently and in small groups to complete those exercises.
The goal of lab is to stimulate collaborative learning and a degree of free thinking -- both of which will prove valuable in the student’s professional career. Although labs are graded on a completion basis, lab assistants will have the latitude to award a “complete” grade to students who, having made a good-faith effort to complete the labs during lab time, cannot finish the battery of lab exercises.
Often, instructors choose to set open-ended labs. For example, consider Dean Wales' lab assignments for the portion of his VID201 course that deals with motion tracking and key-based compositing:
Suggested Practical Exercises for Unit 2:
•Grab a greenscreen and shoot a quick spot for a travel company. Key and mask your subject, and composite him or her onto the background of your choice. Be sure to use at least one tracker to connect a graphical element to your subject.
•Networks have started using motion lower-third promos within regular broadcast programs. Build one of these promos by shooting a subject walking onto a greenscreen, cleaning up the subject, and tracking promo text to a part of the speaker’s body.
Dean Wales' assignments provide direction, but avoid specific artistic detail. Students in VID201 regularly invent lab assignments of their own and, provided they cover the ideas that the course teaches, Dean Wales gladly accepts them.
Courses like VID110 Production normally involve more explicitly collaborative structures. For example, small groups or the entire class may be responsible for setting up and executing shoots.